Gospel Reflections

3rd Sunday of Advent

John 1:6-8,19-28

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Terry Davis

Published: December 17, 2017

On the Third Sunday of Advent, so close to the feast for which we prepare, we are reminded of Advent’s beginning. It begins with a plaintive cry from the desert, a place of desolation and dryness. The cry is insistent and unavoidable in the empty, desert air and reaches our dulled sense of hearing amid the noise of a season gone commercial.

How do we prepare the way for the divine entry into our hearts and our world? How do we make straight the paths that will lead us to the mystery and gift of Christmas? I keep thinking about the reading we heard some weeks ago, often referred to as the Last Judgment. Jesus makes it very clear that our God, Emmanuel, is with us and has always been with us. But what is also unavoidably clear is that our God is found in those who are hungry, thirsty, in prison and lost.

When reflecting on this reading, I am tempted to think only about those out there who are homeless, which I am not, who are hungry, which I am not. And my first thought is that I will find God as I reach out to meet their human needs. And I know this to be true.

A deeper realization, however, unsettles me when I realize that my God is also most present to me in the parts of myself that are hungry, thirsty and lost. I believe that this Advent is a renewed call to walk the paths within me that are twisted, to know the places of emptiness in my own heart and to allow God's great, wide grace of mercy to smooth what is rough and lighten what is shrouded.

So while I will commit again to reaching out to those around me who bear the unmistaken marks of misfortune, I will also commit to the journey within to those same broken and lost places within me. And I know that by allowing grace to straighten and clear the path before me, I will surely meet the God whose promise is to be with us forever, Emmanuel.



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